Again this year, Starz Denver Film Festival artistic director Brit Withey is offering his must-see picks for each day of the fest -- flicks that movie lovers might otherwise miss amid the flood of silver-screen goodies.
Below, he describes his choice for Thursday, November 11: Dog Sweat.
Dog Sweat Directed by Hossein Keshavarz Thursday, November 11, 9:15 p.m. Starz FilmCenter
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"Dog Sweat is another Iranian film" -- an area of focus for this year's film festival, Withey notes. "And it shares some similarities with My Tehran For Sale," his pick for November 7, "in that it depicts the modern, vibrant youth culture of Tehran. But this film is perhaps even more blatant in its depictions of youth acting out against the Islamic culture.
"The film is about a group of youth hanging out on the street. One of them lives in a pretty nice apartment. His parents never seem to be around -- they're going through a divorce, and they've left the apartment to him. So he has his friends over all the time, and they do drugs, sell drugs. The film was shot in very much a vérité style, without permits, which would have landed the director in prison if he'd been caught."
Hossein Keshavarz, the film's director, will be present at the screening, Withey points out -- and he's got a fascinating story to tell. "Everyone worked under pseudonyms while making it," he says, "and once he finished, he left and moved to New York. It's great to have him here to not only talk about how he pulled this off, but also about what it was like as an artist trying to work in Iran under the current regime. The film in itself is very good, but I think it's an exceptional added benefit that he'll be here."
More from our Television & Film archive: "Starz Denver Film Festival opening night with Aaron Eckhart: Falling through a Rabbit Hole."